Expedition planning

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It took Arsames a couple of days in order to get adapted to the subsoil life in the Moon base. The temporary residents consisted of eight scientists and about six technical staff, led by a certain Miriam Hemming. His daily routine was quite simple: he got up, ate his breakfast, had a meeting with the other base residents, spent most of his day in the small office he shared with Ms Hemming, took dinner and finally went to bed.

Life on the Moon was anything but exciting and even for a leading radio-astronomer like him, there was little interesting stuff to do. The Lunar Radio Observatory was highly automated and all collected data was transferred to Earth and the Lagrangian settlements for further analysis. And even the objects to be studied, had already been selected by the International Astronomical Union – it was his very job to make sure that the correct objects were indeed observed.

At the third day of his stay on the Moon, Miriam Hemming told him:

"Next week we'll make an expedition to the Saha crater." "Who are going?" Arsames asked her. "Of course, the two of us. Further we'll take Martin Poulet, who is our most experienced driver, and Charlotte Sobaka, our selenologist." "How long will it take, the entire journey?" "It will take about three days to get there and another three to get back. However, we'll stay there for a day of four." "In other words, we'll be away for ten days." "Yes," the chief engineer replied.

"What about our transport?" "Yes, the Moon Rover is a big truck. There are two sleep cabins, you and Martin will share one and Charlotte and I the other. As there are no prepared roads on the Moon yet, we have to drive very carefully and hence our speed will be quite low." "I assume we will take spare parts with us?" "Naturally," the other replied with a big smile, "and if anything goes wrong, Martin and I will be able to do the required repairs."

Considering what he knew of the other expedition team members, Arsames was confident that the trip to the Saha crater would be successful. And apparently Ms Hemming had made all preparations will in advance and almost every possibility had already been discussed. The very plan had only to be carried out. While the radio-astronomer was thinking about the coming journey, the base chief engineer asked him:

"Are there any other questions you want to ask me?" "Not at this moment," Arsames replied. "I believe you have covered most essentials and I trust you for the details." "Thank you. But by the way, how do you find your experience here?" "Not bad at all, but not very different from my work at university." "I know what you mean. From a strictly scientific and technological point of view there's little no reason for any permanent human presence here on the Moon. Basically we're here because of politics. The Terrestrial governments insist on humans being on the Moon, as a clear sign to those Lagrangian settlers that the Moon is ours."

The scientist could not help but to smile, as his colleague was not a fan of the Lagrangians either. Quickly he said:

"Though I wonder whether that's really necessary, as they have never shown any real interest in the Moon. After all they have all the resources they need in the Near Earth Asteroids and as far as I know they are more interested in reaching the Asteroid belt and I believe the Elynesians are even planning a manned mission to Titan before 2090." "Yes, I have heard so. Nevertheless, as long as our politicians believe the Lagrangians are going to invade the Moon anytime soon, well you know what I mean." Arsames nodded.

"But it remains pure symbolism. The LRO works fine, whether or not we are here. Do you believe your presence here makes any difference." "I do my job, that's what I get paid for. But I won't mind to return to Earth either. But I guess you would rather go back sooner than later. Well, you'll get used to living here, I promise you. Anyway, I have to discuss matters with Martin." "See you later," Arsames replied, while the other left their office.

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